India's airport charges are the second highest among Asian and Gulf airports, next only to that of Hong Kong. According to International Air Travel Association (IATA) officials, international flights pay 33 per cent more than domestic flights landing at the same airport in India, even as airports of other countries refrain from imposing differential tariff.
"Though India has the second highest charges among Asian airports, airlines do not get value for money at Indian airports. Airlines pay more yet receive service levels that are way below those of Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Bangkok," said Albert Tjoeng, Asia spokesperson of IATA.
The airport charges include landing, navigational, route and facilitation and parking charges.
For instance, while Kuala Lumpur airport would charge about $203 for handling an Airbus A320 aircraft for a three-hour turnaround, an Indian airport would charge four times more, at $1,060, for the same facility. A long haul flight of a Boeing 777 would have airlines paying $2,331 by way of handling charges in India, while at Kuala Lumpur charges would be three times less at $753.
For a three-hour turnaround of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, Indian airports would charge $3,471 while charges at Singapore airport for the same aircraft would be 40 per cent lower at $2,476.
While Dubai airport would charge $1,341 for an Airbus 340 plane, the charges at Indian airports for the same aircraft would be $3,282.
"The business model of international airports are structured in a way that non-aeronautical revenues will subsidise the aeronautical charges. Singapore and Hong Kong are the best examples for this," said IATA's Tjoeng.
He said India was imposing excessive overflight charges at seven profitable airports to cross-subsidise other non-profitable airports.
"India's charges do not comply with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) charges priniciples. According to ICAO, the airport charges should be equitable in cost allocation to ensure there are no cross subsidies between users," he said.